Dave’s B-day–written on 5/10

Dave with Maddie in the summer of 2010

Today is my husband’s 41st birthday. For an entire month and 19 days, I can tell him, “I’m married to an older man.” Then I turn 41 myself. How did this happen? I remember being 15 and thinking, “In the year 2000, I will be thirty.” It was the equivalent of saying, “In the year 2000, my life will essentially be over.” Ha! Thirty was young.
For that matter, 41 is young. I don’t feel “old,” whatever “old” is, and I sure wouldn’t want to go back! A few years ago I had a lunch date/writing meeting with several women, all of whom were older than I. The one closest to my age was turning 40 that year, and she mentioned that. “Oh,” said the eldest of our bunch, “you’re just getting started at 40. You get some wisdom then, and you’ve still got energy to do a lot. It’s a good age.” I see that now. The past couple of years, it’s like I’ve found out who I am or at least who I’m not—and also discovered there’s a lot more to know, both good and bad. I’ve looked back at the past with so much more perspective than I remember looking back with at 35 or 30 (and I understand that at 50 and 60 I’ll probably see what a dunce I am now). I’m seeing so many ways I failed to take hold of everyday opportunities to know and love people, to be gracious and relaxed and human. I recognize how stiff and awkward I was, unable to allow differences to be just differences and feeling the need to label them “good” or “bad.” I see how I thought I’d arrived someplace, and now I’m somehow more aware that there’s this long journey of learning ahead of me, and I’ve taken about three steps.

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